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Leading Off (06/15/09)

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1. Despite the sorry state of the budget, the Dallas City Council will vote on a  $500,000 settlement for two families who sustained injuries on  a trip to the zoo back in 2004. As you’ll remember, gorilla Jabari escaped his pen and wreaked havoc for 40 minutes before being shot and killed by a police officer. The council probably shouldn’t count on any of that money being used on future trips to the zoo.

2. Also, on Friday, the council will vote on whether to start selling bonds to build the convention center hotel once interest rates are at 5.5 percent. The hotel should open in late 2011 or early 2012 at a cost of around $350 million. Coincidentally, all of these pesky economic woes should be history by then. According to a document prepared for the vote: “the hotel will open in what is expected to be a strong recovery period in the industry.”

3. Perhaps you’ve noted Dallas police officers cruising around on T-3s — the three-wheeled, electric vehicles that some say look like “something from Star Wars.” Just for kicks, if you get pulled over by a T-3-riding officer, try concentrating really hard while saying this: “You don’t need to see my identification… These aren’t the droids you’re looking for… I can go about my business…Move along.”